China Mobile virtualises RCS with ZTE

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China Mobile has shifted its rich communication services to a virtual IP multimedia subsystem (vIMS) in what is believed to be the world's largest deployment of the technology.

ZTE was the system integrator on the project, which began in October 2014. The virtualised solution has an initial capacity of 100 million subscribers, giving them features including multimedia messaging, network voice calling, video calling and address book capabilities.

The RCS open gateway has been built to GSMA specifications, which ZTE said offers easy access for third party applications and is mobile enough to allow operators to offer similar services to different markets such as enterprise.

By building an RCS network into a network function virtualisation based vIMS platform, ZTE said this standardises equipment, allowing operators to decouple services and hardware. Operators can also automatically deploy services, as well as scaling them up and down according to demand.

The vendor said advantages include a guaranteed system response speed, reduced time to deploy and expand services, lower total costs of ownership and a guaranteed evolution of a network's deployment.

Gong Dehua, Vice President of ZTE core network product line, said: “ZTE’s RCS converged communication system redefines basic communication services allowing China Mobile to build new calling, messaging and contact services. It also allows the upgrading of traditional voice and messaging service experiences, realising new information service platforms with open capabilities and channels.”

RCS has been predicted to dominate overall messaging revenue, with ABI Research claiming its share will grow from 32 percent this year to 72 percent in 2021.

While the technology had been languishing for several years, despite initial hopes it would help operators compete effectively with OTT players, it has been reinvigorated of late, after Google formed an operator consortium aimed at developing RCS at this year's Mobile World Congress.